Diphtheria which was believed to have been eliminated from the country has suddenly been a cause of concern after 11 confirmed cases were reported from Raichur district in Karnataka recently. This has raised the concern of the health authorities.
Throat swabs of the 33 suspected were sent for medical examination. Of these, 11 of them were confirmed positive. 10 of them are in the age group of 2-15 years and one is a 22 year old. All the 11 of them at the Raichur Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS).
So what exactly is Diptheria? Diphtheria is a serious respiratory disease caused by certain strains of the bacterium called the Corynebacterium diphtheriae. It generally affects the mucous membranes of the throat and nose.
How Does Diphtheria Spread?
Diphtheria is extremely contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing. So if you are around an infected person, when they cough and sneeze or even blow their nose, you need to be careful.
Yet another possible cause for the spread of the disease is through the contact with objects infected with bacteria like a cup or a railing that you touch while climbing the stairs.
Once the bacteria infects the throat and the nose, the toxins spreads affecting the nose, throat, tongue and the airways. If not taken care of on time it might affect the heart, brain and the kidneys as well.
The major risk factors include poor hygiene, crowd and also lack of immunization. Though the disease is contagious, it can be prevented using the vaccine.
Symptoms Of Diphtheria:
The symptoms of diphtheria are visible within 3-5 days after the infection. One of the most worrying factor is that, the symptoms of diphtheria are similar to that of any common cold and infection. Also there are few cases where the symptoms are not visible at all.
Few of the major symptoms of diphtheria are as follows:
- Fever with chills.
- Sore throat.
- Swollen glands in the neck.
- Difficulty in swallowing.
- Changes in vision.
- Problem in speech.
- Pale and cold skin.
- Rapid heart beat.
- Uneasiness and discomfort.